Apple Predicted to Launch A9-Based 4-Inch iPhone in Early 2016, iPhone 7 Plus to Carry 3 GB of RAM

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has released a new research report outlining his expectations for Apple’s 2016 iPhone launches, including several interesting tidbits about the upcoming devices.

First, Kuo believes Apple still has a new 4-inch iPhone in the works that „resembles an upgraded iPhone 5s“. The device is said to be targeted for launch in the first half of next year and will come equipped with an A9 processor.

As there is still demand for a 4-inch iPhone, we believe Apple will upgrade this product line. Because the iPhone 5s is more popular than the iPhone 5c, we think Apple is likely to launch an upgraded iPhone 5s. We predict Apple will mass-produce this new 4-inch iPhone in 1H16 with metal casings. In order to make the current iOS 9 or next-generation iOS 10 run smoothly, Apple may adopt an A9 chip for this new phone.

Kuo believes this new 4-inch iPhone will not include 3D Touch support as part of an effort to keep it differentiated from the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. He also projects Apple could ship 20-30 million units of this new iPhone through the end of 2016.

Looking ahead to the next full refresh with the iPhone 7, Kuo expects the usual third-quarter launch in 2016 with an unsurprising upgrade to a new A10 chip to offer increased performance. He does, however, believe Apple will opt to differentiate between the two sizes of the iPhone 7 when it comes to RAM, with the 4.7-inch iPhone 7 carrying the same 2 GB seen in current iPhones while the 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus will include 3 GB of RAM for performance reasons.

Kuo believes major winners for the 2016 iPhone cycle include Foxconn, which he expects will be the exclusive supplier for the new 4-inch iPhone, and TSMC, which he expects will be the sole provider of the A9 chip used in that phone as well as the A10 chip used in the iPhone 7.

Related Roundups: iPhone 7 (2016), iPhone 6c (2016)
Tags: KGI Securities, Ming-Chi Kuo
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Apple Objects to GT Advanced’s Financing Plan Following Mesa Fire

Apple is objecting to GT Advanced Technologies’ financing plan over concerns that it would undermine its existing settlement reached with the bankrupt sapphire crystal supplier last year, reports Re/code. GT Advanced reached a settlement with Apple in October 2014 after failing to produce sapphire crystal of the quality desired by the Cupertino-based company for potential use in future products.

GT Advanced is attempting to restructure by raising $95 million through a loan agreement under the supervision of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for New Hampshire, but the financing plan is contingent on the company receiving enough insurance money to repair any damage to sapphire furnaces following a fire at its former Mesa, Arizona facility a few months ago.

GT Advanced’s inspection equipment damaged in Mesa facility fire last May
Apple argues that GT Advanced already determined damage at the facility to be minimal, adding that the terms of the loan agreement give lenders too much leverage to foreclose on the sapphire furnaces that GT Advanced is supposed to sell in order to repay Apple. A group of GT Advanced shareholders have also reportedly questioned why the company needs to raise money nine months into bankruptcy.

GT Advanced filed for bankruptcy last October after it became clear the company was spending over one million dollars per day to run its operations, despite being unable to produce sapphire acceptably by Apple’s standards. The company began winding down its sapphire production and decommissioning the furnaces to prepare them for storage and resale through the end of last year.



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Buyer’s Guide: 20% Off iTunes Gift Cards, Halloween Discounts on Most Mophie, Speck, and Griffin Products [iOS Blog]

In celebration of Halloween, which takes place on Friday, retailers are offering some significant discounts on their products. Mophie, for example, is offering 20 percent off all of its products with the promo code LIVINGDEAD, with the discount valid until 11/2.

Speck is offering a similar deal, providing customers with 20 percent off all products aside from iPhone 6 and 6 Plus cases with the promo code TRICKORTREAT. Speck’s deal will last until 10/31.

Griffin is offering 20 percent off all products sidewide using the promo code SPOOKY20. The sale will last through the end of the week.

Along with those three deals, PayPal Digital Gifts is offering 20% off iTunes cards from eBay, dropping the price of a $25 card to $20, a $50 code to $40, and a $100 code to $80. The codes are delivered digitally and customers looking to get a discount on an iTunes card should act fast as PayPal-discounted iTunes cards rarely last long.

MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors.




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Microsoft Offers MacBook Air Owners $650 Trade-In Value Towards Surface Pro 3 [Mac Blog]

Microsoft today announced that it will provide up to $650 in store credit for select MacBook Air models, in an effort to get MacBook Air owners to switch to the company’s new Surface Pro 3, which it claims has the „power of a laptop in a lightweight, versatile form.“ Trade-ins must be conducted within a Microsoft retail store.

First announced in May, the Surface Pro 3 offers a 12-inch display, a thin design, Core i3, i5, or i7 processors and a new Surface Pen stylus with 256 levels of pressure sensitivity, aiming to compete with Apple’s ultra thin MacBook Air. Previous Surface tablets were designed to take on Apple’s line of tablets, but Microsoft is poising its newest version as a MacBook Air competitor.

The entry-level Core i3 Surface Pro 3 retails for $799, with improved versions sporting a Core i5 and Core i7 processor available at prices between $999 and $1949. With the discount for turning in a MacBook Air, customers could pay just $150 for an entry-level model.

According to the terms of the deal, trade-in values may vary, which suggests that only good-condition current-generation MacBook Airs will be eligible for the full $650 credit. It is not clear how much Microsoft is offering for older models at this time.

MacBook Airs eligible for trade-in must power on and be in working condition. Water-damaged devices and those with cracked screens may not be traded in. A purchase of the Surface Pro 3 is also required to get the maximum trade in value, and Microsoft plans to run this deal through the end of July.




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T-Mobile Targets Tablets: LTE Models for Price of Wi-Fi, Bonus Free Data Through 2014

T-Mobile US, which has been shaking up the cellular industry in the United States with a series of promotions and policy changes, today made several announcements intended to attract tablet customers to the carrier. There are two key pieces to the initiative:

LTE tablets for the price of Wi-Fi: Under Apple’s standard pricing, LTE iPad models are priced $130 higher than their Wi-Fi equivalents, but T-Mobile’s limited time promotion will allow customers to purchase an LTE iPad from the carrier at Wi-Fi pricing.

If you’re stuck on Wi-Fi, you can now come to T-Mobile and upgrade to a 4G LTE-enabled model for nothing down and pay no more than you’d pay for the cheaper Wi-Fi-only model, with any postpaid activation on a 1GB or more mobile internet plan with no annual service contract. For example, pay the Wi-Fi price of $499 instead of $630 for the 4G LTE-enabled 16GB iPad Air.

24-month interest-free financing with zero money down is also available for qualified customers.

Bonus 1GB of free data per month through 2014: T-Mobile already offers a free 200 MB data package for tablet owners, and with today’s announcement, T-Mobile voice customers can receive an additional 1 GB of free data per month through the end of the year.

And, for both new and existing customers, T-Mobile is offering $10 off its most popular internet data plans starting April 12th through the end of 2014. For voice customers, what that means is you can get up to 1GB of 4G LTE data free every month through the end of the year. Combined with the 200 MB of free data you already automatically get every month with T-Mobile’s previously announced “Free Data for Life” offer that comes to nearly 1.2GB of free 4G LTE data every month through the end of 2014. If you love living beyond the Wi-Fi zone – and want to keep enjoying that tablet freedom beyond 2014 – you can get it starting at just $10 a month with voice service next year.

T-Mobile also continues to offer its ETF buyouts, allowing customers stuck on service contracts with another carrier to trade-in their devices and receive credits for the termination fees paid to the other carrier.




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